Monday, August 8, 2016

Extraordinary by K.M. Herkes @dawnrigger Rough Passages, Bk 1

Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy


A trip to the traveling carnival with two toddlers and a mobility-challenged parent isn't most people's definition of fun, but it's closer than Valerie Wade usually gets. A few hours kicking sawdust and revisiting favorite childhood memories, that's all she asks. 

It's her annual treat, a visit back in time to the carefree years before she learned that her blood carries a potential death sentence, before life beat her down and broke her spirit. It's the one place where she can forget about secrets, debts and obligations for a few hours and remember what hope feels like.

Everything changes that night, under the bright lights and the striped awnings. The monsters and freaks aren't in the sideshow tents. They're walking the aisles, and before the carnival is done, Valerie will be taking her place among them.”


Here’s how Ms. Herkes describes her authorial self: “I love stories that dance in the open spaces between genres, so those are what I write. Professional development has included classroom teaching, animal training, aquaculture, horticulture, retail operations, and customer service. Personal development is ongoing. Cats, baking, and flowers are involved.

My books play in the literary traffic, dodging between science and fantasy, present and future, to reach a sweet spot where characters come alive. Damaged souls, triumphs of the spirit, divided loyalties and dialogue loaded with witty humor are recurring themes. I know I've hit my storytelling target when reviews start with, ‘This isn't my usual read, but I took a chance,’ and end with ‘And now I've read the whole series. I loved it and told all my friends to try it too.’”

Learn more about Ms. Herkes by visiting her website or follow her on Facebook.


I can’t fulfill the author’s wish and say this isn’t my usual read, but I can give her a full-throated atta-girl (is that a thing?) for a fun, fascinating short story that achieves a whole lot in a few pages. The “monsters” are complex characters and they exist inside a fully realized contemporary “world” that the author reveals by peeling back one thin veil at a time. I never felt lost, and yet I was never spoon-fed details of why this world existed or how the characters within it functioned. I was simply guided through their interactions to discover it for myself—good writing.

This is the first in a series and I highly recommend it as an intriguing, beautifully written piece of thoughtful storytelling.

Buy now from:    Amazon US     Amazon UK

FYI: Extraordinary is the first book in Ms. Herkes’ Rough Passages series.

Format/Typo Issues:
Very few.

Rating: ***** Five Stars

Reviewed by: Pete Barber

Approximate word count: 8-9,000 words 

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